When the Christmas Bureau opens in 10 days, at least one longtime supporter will be missed by veteran volunteers at this annual charity. Donna Hanson, the director of Catholic Charities, died in the fall. Catholic Charities, Volunteers of America and the Salvation Army partner in running the bureau at the Spokane Fair and Expo Center, where the fixings of Christmas are given to the area’s needy people.
“Donna was a lightning rod when it came to the Christmas Bureau,” said bureau co-chairman Bruce Butler. “She always wanted it open as close to Christmas as possible, and this year we went with her wishes and we will be open through the Wednesday before Christmas,” he said.
The Christmas Bureau is funded by donations to The Spokesman-Review Christmas Fund. The goal is $485,000 this year, and today we report the first donations to the effort. The fund has received donations totaling $11,444.55. Some of the donations date to January when they were received too late to apply to last year’s fund. Others were sent throughout the year, as memorials or disbursements from trust funds. Donations of all amounts are welcome.
Christmas Fund donations are used to buy toys for thousands of needy children and for food vouchers for the poor.
“When we were discussing the amount of the vouchers, Donna was always pushing to have them higher,” says Butler. “She always had an affinity toward the unfortunate. They don’t have a voice, and she was their voice. The figurehead of the Christmas Bureau this year will be the spirit of Donna Hanson.”
Butler credits Hanson with recruiting many of the veteran volunteers for the bureau.
“When she called, you couldn’t say no,” he says. “It was the same for her fund-raising. When she asked, you couldn’t say no to her.”
Rob McCann, the new director of Catholic Charities, has less experience with the Christmas Bureau. “He has to get to know the history of the bureau,” Butler says. For nonprofits, this is a busy time of year, and he will have his hands full with the other fund-raising efforts at Catholic Charities, Butler added.
Catholic Charities launched its own major fund-raising campaign in November. While it coincides with the Review’s Christmas Fund, the two charities are different and separate. Catholic Charities’ campaign, in its 64th year, funds that charity’s 15 programs, ranging from House of Charity to housing units for migrant workers in the Yakima Valley.
The Spokesman-Review collaborates with Catholic Charities and Volunteers of America in the Christmas Bureau, funding the effort through the Christmas Fund. All donations to the Christmas Fund go to the bureau.
“People need to know that the money they donate is used for what they want it to be used for,” says Loreen McFaul, Catholic Charities Development Director.
All donations to the Christmas Fund will be reported in the newspaper. Donors who wish to remain anonymous should indicate so in a note separate from their checks. Otherwise the donor’s name and town will be listed. We will include memorials, but please write clearly so we can honor the donor’s wishes.
Following are the donors and their donations to date:
The Spokesman-Review Feature Department donated the proceeds from its Freebie Sale, $2,322.50.
Gale and Patricia Burnett, of Spokane, gave $2,000.
The Clarence Colby Memorial Fund sent $1,334.40.
The Western Regional Office of the Guardian Life Insurance Company of America, in Spokane, sent $1,000 and a note: “We sincerely support the mission of The Spokesman-Review Christmas Fund and the significant impact it has made to the families of our community.”
An anonymous donor, of Newman Lake, sent $750.
In lieu of a Christmas gift exchange, the staff at Bernardo Wills Architects, of Spokane, donated $625.
Elizabeth Kohler, of Spokane, gave $500.
Employee donations and matching funds from Garco Construction, of Spokane, totaling $340, were given.
Rhonda and Jack Miller, of Spokane, brought $250 to the newspaper. The Sons of Norway Tordenskjold Lodge 2-0005, of Spokane, sent $250, as did the service group Assistants, also of Spokane.
Linda Wilke gave $145.35.
Mackay Manufacturing, of Spokane, donated $139.
Georgia Adjemian, of Spokane, donated $100, as did Walter Fernau, of Mead; Don and Pat Enemark, of Spokane; Greg Horan, through a designated matching gift at The Chubb Corporation, Curtis and Wendy Shoemaker, and two anonymous donors, all of Spokane.
Rick and Carol Bonino, gave $50, as did Mike Yake, Kathy and Bruce Bixler, Don and Diane Kelly, Robert and Diane Notske, Dorothy Worthington, and an anonymous donor, all of Spokane. Evelyn and Kenneth Crow, of Spokane Valley donated $50, as did G. Schroeder, through a designated matching fund at Marsh Inc., and Mark Schmitt, also through a designated matching fund, at Safeco.
Alexa Conway gave $48.25.
Several donations were made in memory of Donald Hares. They are: Bonnie Harlan, of Missoula, who sent $25; Raymond and Frances Hettich, also of Missoula, sent $20; the Wisconsin cousins sent $40; Kevin and Birgit of Grandview, Wash., sent $50; Beverly Crocker of Bowman, N.D., gave $20; and Delores Rhyme of West Salem, Wis., gave $50.
Ken Jones brought $30 to the newspaper.
Richard and Lillian Clason, of Spokane, donated $25, as did Robert Cartwright, Jr., also of Spokane.
An anonymous donor sent $20.05 through a designated gift program at Express Personnel Services.
Mike Mcinnis brought $20 to the newspaper.